Polls Show Government Shutdown May Hand Control Of The House To Democrats

Poll shows Democrats may take the House in 2014. Photo of the U.S. House of Representative's Chamber from Wikipedia.

24 new polls from battleground congressional districts show the GOP’s government shutdown may hand the House of Representatives to Democrats in 2014. Photo of the U.S. House of Representative’s Chamber from Wikipedia.

A series of 24 new polls show that if the next election for the House of Representatives were held today, the GOP could well lose at least 17 of the seats they now hold. This massive handover of the House to Democrats becomes more likely in 2014. That’s when voters will be told their Republican incumbent supported the government shutdown.

The polls were conducted in 24 individual districts. In 17 of them, an unnamed Democrat would win against the incumbent even before the voter is given information about where he/she stands on the shutdown. Democrats need to win just 17 additional seats in 2014, in order for the switch in control of the House to be complete. The 17 already leaning in that direction are in the states of CA (1), CO (1), FL (3), IA (2), IL (1), KY (1), MA (3), NY(1), OH (1), PA (2), and WI (1). In four other districts, the incumbent also falls behind the Democrat once the voters know that the Republican was one of those that supported the federal shutdown – CA (1), NY (2), VA (1). In only three of the total districts does the Republican still come out on top.

24 battleground districts may hand Democrats the House in 2014

Furthermore, the polls show that in every single one of the 24 districts, voters oppose the shutdown by significant margins of  10-36 percentage points. Similar results are found in the question of who supports a default on government debts. In 26 of the districts, those who oppose a default lead those who support it by 2-27 percentage points.  In one renegade district — Ohio’s 6th District, represented by Bill Johnson — those who favor the default actually lead those who oppose it by one percentage point. These polls show voters’ anger over the GOP’s government shutdown could hand Democrats the house in 2014.

One can only assume that the smaller margins on the question of a potential default are due to voter ignorance of the severity of the impact such an event would have on their individual lives. That ignorance that seems pervasive among Tea Party Congressmen, as well. The effects of the government shutdown are currently visible across the nation. Also, there is no precedent for a default. If this historical first comes to be, it will cause voter opinions of incumbent Republicans to take a dramatic nosedive. Democratic control of the House in 2014 would be nearly guaranteed.

These poll results show the extreme vulnerability of the GOP in 2014. That’s in spite of the common assumption that gerrymandering has put the House out of reach of the Democrats. A little information is all that’s required to begin shifting public opinion. Once specific Democrats are known in these races and freely handing out information on who’s responsible for the shutdown, the shift in control of the House may well turn into a landslide movement.